Bridging the Gap Between Land Use Policy and Economic Development

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  1. 1. Learning Objectives Connection between land use policy and economic development Benefits of doing a regulatory audit and market analysis at the same time How to talk your elected body into giving you money for planning!
  2. 2. Snapshot of Groton Population: 40,115 Jobs: 26,000+ Major Employers: US Navy Base Electric Boat Pfizer Points of Interest: Fort Griswold Branford House US Navy Submarine Museum Notable People: Matt Harvey (NY Mets pitcher) Lydia Longley (first Nun) Brian Anderson (professional skateboarder) Fran Mainella (former National Park Service Director)
  3. 3. What Are Our Problems? What Can We Do? Fat and happy, until recent HUGE tax revenue loss Word on the street Not an easy place to do business Confusing process Town Council initiative with $$$ Economic development/ understand the market Regulatory reform Customer service
  4. 4. Opportunities New leadership in OPDS (AD/ECD) Community is ready for change Developable/Underutilized land and grayfields Transit and multimodal options POCD/Zoning Sewer/Roadway infrastructure Water availability Others
  5. 5. Constraints Lacking a development community Town/City/Village(s) Looking for instant results No town center Resistance to change (internal i.e. town hall) Everyone has ideas, lack of bodies to implement
  6. 6. What Are Our Goals? Easier process and more diverse economy! Plan and create an economically diverse economy Identify areas where smart growth and development should be encouraged and supported (growth centers) Encourage mixed-use development that creates great communities Address infrastructure needs for the future Protect open space, critical resources and community character Develop buy-in and engage the community in the process
  7. 7. What Should Groton Do? Most municipalities are dealing with the same problems as Groton How have other municipalities handled these same issues? Regulatory audit Market analysis Targeted industry assessments Market the town and its resources
  8. 8. Getting It Done RFQ Town Council plan and $$ Selection committee and process Community support is key Focus group Develop buy-in and political support for future changes Include boards, commissions, TC, RTM, and others Make this their project, not just another planning study
  9. 9. Market Analysis What this will do for us? Give us direction for solutions and an awareness of the market What is the market? Retail Office Housing Hospitality Infrastructure Smart growth vs. conventional development Add on projects Pro forma analysis Marketing material Industry specific analysis
  10. 10. Regulatory Reform is the Equivalent of Setting the Table Plan of Conservation and Development update in process Zoning Regulationslast rewrite in 1986 Subdivision Regulationsadopted in 1980 Economic Development Incentives
  11. 11. Customer Service Why is this important? Does the public like what we are selling? We are a service provider Change of attitude Change of focus
  12. 12. Development and Redevelopment Equation
  13. 13. Regulatory Review Zoning and Subdivision Regulation Audit
  14. 14. Goals Less is more Be user friendly: clear and concise Simplify the approval process Provide predictability Provide incentives to meet economic development objectives Recognize best practices Ensure consistency with Towns Plan of Conservation and Development Recognize demographic trends that relate to development patterns
  15. 15. Purpose Identify areas of concern Suggest changes Provide a roadmap to assist the Town in implementing recommendations
  16. 16. Focus Areas Inconsistencies Organization Confusing/Vague language Out-of-date provisions Barriers to efficient permitting Staff review vs. commission approvals Consolidation of boards/commissions User friendliness Best practices Consistency with state statutes Consistency with Towns economic development objectives
  17. 17. Stakeholder Interviews Regulations are cumbersome, outdated and lack consistency; hinder the Towns ability to attract development Town is losing out to coastal communities in attracting development Capitalize on Town assets Waterfront location Regional access (highway, ferry, rail, airport) Schools, parks, museums, and destinations Complacency due to past success (Pfizer and Electric Boat) Multiple Committees and Commissions create complexities Confusion created by Town/City of Groton jurisdiction; redundancy of functions and operations Land use regulations should support Towns goal for attracting economic development Can do attitude of current planning and ED staff
  18. 18. Implications for Zoning Decreased setbacks Smaller lot sizes Mix of housing types/models Adapting existingGranny flats Options for aging in place Connectivity to services and entertainment Trends Aging population
  19. 19. Implications for Zoning Increased demand for rental housing Increased density Live, work, play proximity Reduced parking Increased demand for biking, walking, and public transportation Trends Millennials
  20. 20. Implications for Zoning Demand for mixed-use and proximity to services Support opportunities for Traditional Neighborhood Development patterns Locate development near transportation nodes Transportation impacts Interconnected streets Complete Streets Sidewalks/crosswalks/bikeways Demand for on-site amenities and outdoor space Trends Desire for live/work/play opportunities
  21. 21. General Comments Zoning is difficult to get through; lacks streamlined review process Few incentives to encourage development FAR bonuses, flexible standards Not supportive of emerging trends Particularly mixed use and on-site employee amenities Lack requirements Pedestrian and bike facilities, sustainability, alternative energy Organizational improvements Structure Definitions Consistency Consolidation of districts
  22. 22. General Comments Simplify table of permitted uses 12 pages long Consider creating a developers handbook Downtown Development District Create a new Overlay that reconciles existing strip commercial land use pattern with desire to create a true town center
  23. 23. Recommendations Improvements to the organizational structure, definition and clarity in key sections Language to fill a void in the regulations Sweeping changes (eliminating a district, creating a new overlay, or substantially re-writing the content of a special district)
  24. 24. Next Steps Target areas for economic development Create a new Downtown Development Overlay District along Route 1 corridor Initiate a master plan for the Route 1 corridor Staff Conduct land use studies in representative cross-sampling of the built industrial environment to better understand development characteristics (establish baseline for making adjustments to dimensional and density requirements) Simplify use tables Address streamlining, including potential to hold joint hearings Create a developers handbook Use technology (on-line permitting)
  25. 25. Market Analysis
  26. 26. Economic Development Tools The Big Categories Business attraction, retention, and expansion Real estate and site development Innovation, entrepreneurship, incubation, and acceleration Workforce development Community development Our core focus in Groton: Real Estate and Site Developmentblending land use and zoning with economic and market analysis.
  27. 27. Economic Development & Planning Overlap The Groton Experience Land and site development Redevelopment Downtown development Corridor and district development Infrastructure needs and planning Placemaking All are impacted by planning, zoning, permitting, land-use regulations, and codes; and all are driven by economic and market trends!
  28. 28. Leading Industry Analysis The Groton Experience Industry sector and subsectors Manufacturing, life sciences, medical office, retail, tourism/visitation, business and finance Includes analysis of Employment and occupationstrends, projections, concentrations, wages Market trendsregional, global, national Can also include analysis of Supplies chains, trade Output and impactsales, GDP, multipliers Not a guarantee of the future Not meant to find lightening in a bottle
  29. 29. Real Estate Market Analysis Includes land and new building development, expansions, redevelopment, business parks, sites, districts, and corridors Broken into categories of commercial, industrial, retail, special (i.e. medical office lab, incubators), and mixed-use Analysis of Competitivenesssupply, demand, comparison to market competition Needsinfrastructure, incentives, amenities Keys in Groton: Corridors, refreshing retail, integrating tourism/visitation areas, flex space for manufacturing, mixed-use, and design integration
  30. 30. Lessons Learned Placemaking Matters! Workforce is key to economic development Top issue for all sectors and all sizes of business! Workforce requires infrastructure and amenities Housing, transportation, water, parks, recreation, community, etc. Defines quality of place Economic development must include attention to quality of place and must be integrated with community development and planning
  31. 31. Lessons Learned Less Is More! Focus on low hanging fruitPrioritize! Dont bite off more than you can chew break large projects into smaller digestible components based on your organizations and partners capacity to implement Understand what you can have impact over At local levelland use, zoning, permitting, customer service Be regional Workforce, transportation, industry cluster, and housing all require regional strategies Be holistic and integrate Land use planning, community development, workforce development, economic, and business development
  32. 32. Next Steps Focus on setting the table Implement market analysis and marketing efforts Foster community support First steps in revising regulations Celebrate small successes Improve development and permitting process across the board Master planning key areas Local assistance from partner organizations and the State Promised the Town Council some progress in 3 years (give or take a little.)
  33. 33. Questions Jon Reiner, AICP | Director of Planning and Development Services, Town of Groton, CT | Ken Schwartz, AICP, NCICS | Senior Vice President of Planning/Urban Design | Jim Damicis | Senior Vice President, Camoin Associates |


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